This volume is a compilation of a series of lectures delivered by the eminent social anthropologist M. N. Srinivas. These lectures have been widely acclaimed and have since been recommended or prescribed as a text for students of sociology, anthropology and Indian studies. The book remains the ‘classic of social anthropology’ as it was hailed, when first published.
Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas (1916–1999) was a sociologist and social anthropologist. Armed with a PhD from Bombay University, he took up a fellowship at the University of Oxford where he developed his ideas on the ‘sanskritization’ and ‘westernization’ of castes as well as his concept of the ‘dominant castes’. The categories he developed to understand Indian society continue to be used widely in studies of South Asian communities today. Professor Srinivas taught at several institutions of repute such as the University of Delhi, M. S. University, Baroda and the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, and his ideas have had a significant impact on the work of Indian sociologists and social anthropologists. Professor Srinivas passed away in 1999 in Bangalore.